Vietnam: The last battle 35 years on - John Pilger

Partizan

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Vietnam: The Last Battle by John Pilger -- Antiwar.com

Excellent article from John Pilger reminicing about his time in Vietnam and the direction he sees the country heading into the next few decades.

SAIGON – The rain sheeted down, time washed away. I looked down from the rooftop in Saigon where, more than a generation ago, in the wake of the longest war of modern times, I had watched silent, sullen streets awash. The foreigners were gone, at last. Through the mist, like little phantoms, four children ran into view, their arms outstretched. They circled and weaved and dived; and one of them fell down, feigning death. They were bombers.

This was not unusual, for there is no place like Vietnam. Within my lifetime, Ho Chi Minh’s nationalists had fought and expelled the French, whose tree-lined boulevards, pink-washed villas and scaled-down replica of the Paris Opera, were facades for plunder and cruelty; then the Japanese, with whom the French colons collaborated; then the British who sought to reinstall the French; then the Americans, with whom Ho had repeatedly tried to forge an alliance against China; then Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, who attacked from the west; and finally the Chinese who, with a vengeful nod from Washington, came down from the north. All of them were seen off at immeasurable cost.
 


myhonorisloyalty666

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Pilger is a pathetic old relic.
America's interest in Vietnam was to halt the advance of the communists through post-colonial Asia. From the mid 1950's to the early 1960's American advisors trained and commanded and fought alongside the South Vietnamese Army against Communist rebels in the south.

The Russians and Chinese began training and providing hardware to the North Vietnamese communists and Chinese soldiers and North Vietnamese infiltrators took over the Viet Cong insurgents in the south.

Leftists in Europe and America like Pilger denied that the Viet Cong had anything to do with the communist North even though American special forces were routinely coming across dead Chinese and dead North Vietnamese Army officers among the bodies of dead Viet Cong guerrillas.

Later when it became clear the North Vietnamese regular army units were crossing into South Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh and US regular forces were built up to stop them and fight the Viet Cong guerillas, the likes of Pilger continued the claim that Viet Cong were simple poor peasant farmers fighting against imperialist aggression.

Pilger and his ilk denied that communists were massacring thousands of Vietnamese peasants and claimed that the communists in the South had popular support.

When the US military smashed the Viet Cong in the Tet offensive and broke the back of the communist movement the leftist media portrayed it as a defeat.

After 1967-1968 the South Vietnamese Army began to take on the combat role of the US military which began to be scaled back.

The North Vietnamese turned to it's regular forces to try and invade the south and were defeated again and again and again.

Meanwhile communist movements in the Phillipines, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia were defeated by pro-western regimes back which meant that the threat from the lost of South Vietnam to communism was lessened.

When the US combat units withdrew in 1973 they left behind a strong South Vietnamese Army and regime that could fight the combat role itself using aid provide by the US.

The North Vietnamese economy and military were utterly smashed and the Soviet Union and China admitted defeat.

The US lost 58,000 but millions of Vietnamese communist forces had been killed.

Then sensationally after the Watergate scandal, the Democrat dominated US Senate and Congress voted to cut all economic and military aid to South Vietnam.

The communists couldn't believe the turn of events and massively increased their aid to the North Vietnamese who eventually launched a full scale invasion in 1975.

By 1975 the South Vietnamese completely collapsed not before begging the Americans to intervene.

The leftists like Pilger claimed that the South Vietnamese people welcomed the communists but soon millions of Vietnamese had fled the country on a flotilla of boats and thousands died at sea while the rest crowded the port cities of neighbouring countries across the Asian region begging for refuge.

The ones who didn't escape were sent to 're-education' camps and countless thousands died.

Within a few years the economy of Vietnam had completely collapsed and there were famines thanks to the insane communist economic policies of the new regime.

The anti-war movement, peace protesters and leftist media who had wanted the US to withdraw refused to admit their role in this disaster.

They continually bring up atrocities like My Lai or complained about the bombing of Hanoi or the effects of chemical defoliants but they never talk about the genocide committed by communist forces when they were free of American harrasment after the fall of Saigon.

When Cambodia descended into a living hell under Pol Pot, the leftist media refused to take any interest and people like Pilger and Noam Chomsky praised the spread of communism through Indo-China.

Today these are the same people who thought Iraq would end in defeat - today Iraq is secure and standing on it's own two feet after US forces have withdrawn - and think America should withdraw from Afghanistan and are opposed to using force against Iran or North Korea.
 

Garibaldy

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The reason Pilger and his ilk claimed that the communists had mass support was that they did.

As for the rest of it, I hope that the medicine kicks in soon.
 

Cael

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Today these are the same people who thought Iraq would end in defeat - today Iraq is secure and standing on it's own two feet after US forces have withdrawn
You really are delusional.
 

shutuplaura

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Pilger is a pathetic old relic.
America's interest in Vietnam was to halt the advance of the communists through post-colonial Asia. From the mid 1950's to the early 1960's American advisors trained and commanded and fought alongside the South Vietnamese Army against Communist rebels in the south.

The Russians and Chinese began training and providing hardware to the North Vietnamese communists and Chinese soldiers and North Vietnamese infiltrators took over the Viet Cong insurgents in the south.

Leftists in Europe and America like Pilger denied that the Viet Cong had anything to do with the communist North even though American special forces were routinely coming across dead Chinese and dead North Vietnamese Army officers among the bodies of dead Viet Cong guerrillas.

Later when it became clear the North Vietnamese regular army units were crossing into South Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh and US regular forces were built up to stop them and fight the Viet Cong guerillas, the likes of Pilger continued the claim that Viet Cong were simple poor peasant farmers fighting against imperialist aggression.

Pilger and his ilk denied that communists were massacring thousands of Vietnamese peasants and claimed that the communists in the South had popular support.

When the US military smashed the Viet Cong in the Tet offensive and broke the back of the communist movement the leftist media portrayed it as a defeat.

After 1967-1968 the South Vietnamese Army began to take on the combat role of the US military which began to be scaled back.

The North Vietnamese turned to it's regular forces to try and invade the south and were defeated again and again and again.

Meanwhile communist movements in the Phillipines, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia were defeated by pro-western regimes back which meant that the threat from the lost of South Vietnam to communism was lessened.

When the US combat units withdrew in 1973 they left behind a strong South Vietnamese Army and regime that could fight the combat role itself using aid provide by the US.

The North Vietnamese economy and military were utterly smashed and the Soviet Union and China admitted defeat.

The US lost 58,000 but millions of Vietnamese communist forces had been killed.

Then sensationally after the Watergate scandal, the Democrat dominated US Senate and Congress voted to cut all economic and military aid to South Vietnam.

The communists couldn't believe the turn of events and massively increased their aid to the North Vietnamese who eventually launched a full scale invasion in 1975.

By 1975 the South Vietnamese completely collapsed not before begging the Americans to intervene.

The leftists like Pilger claimed that the South Vietnamese people welcomed the communists but soon millions of Vietnamese had fled the country on a flotilla of boats and thousands died at sea while the rest crowded the port cities of neighbouring countries across the Asian region begging for refuge.

The ones who didn't escape were sent to 're-education' camps and countless thousands died.

Within a few years the economy of Vietnam had completely collapsed and there were famines thanks to the insane communist economic policies of the new regime.

The anti-war movement, peace protesters and leftist media who had wanted the US to withdraw refused to admit their role in this disaster.

They continually bring up atrocities like My Lai or complained about the bombing of Hanoi or the effects of chemical defoliants but they never talk about the genocide committed by communist forces when they were free of American harrasment after the fall of Saigon.

When Cambodia descended into a living hell under Pol Pot, the leftist media refused to take any interest and people like Pilger and Noam Chomsky praised the spread of communism through Indo-China.

Today these are the same people who thought Iraq would end in defeat - today Iraq is secure and standing on it's own two feet after US forces have withdrawn - and think America should withdraw from Afghanistan and are opposed to using force against Iran or North Korea.
Is this a pisstake?
 

darkhorse

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Pilger is a pathetic old relic.
America's interest in Vietnam was to halt the advance of the communists through post-colonial Asia. From the mid 1950's to the early 1960's American advisors trained and commanded and fought alongside the South Vietnamese Army against Communist rebels in the south.

The Russians and Chinese began training and providing hardware to the North Vietnamese communists and Chinese soldiers and North Vietnamese infiltrators took over the Viet Cong insurgents in the south.

Leftists in Europe and America like Pilger denied that the Viet Cong had anything to do with the communist North even though American special forces were routinely coming across dead Chinese and dead North Vietnamese Army officers among the bodies of dead Viet Cong guerrillas.

Later when it became clear the North Vietnamese regular army units were crossing into South Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh and US regular forces were built up to stop them and fight the Viet Cong guerillas, the likes of Pilger continued the claim that Viet Cong were simple poor peasant farmers fighting against imperialist aggression.

Pilger and his ilk denied that communists were massacring thousands of Vietnamese peasants and claimed that the communists in the South had popular support.

When the US military smashed the Viet Cong in the Tet offensive and broke the back of the communist movement the leftist media portrayed it as a defeat.

After 1967-1968 the South Vietnamese Army began to take on the combat role of the US military which began to be scaled back.

The North Vietnamese turned to it's regular forces to try and invade the south and were defeated again and again and again.

Meanwhile communist movements in the Phillipines, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia were defeated by pro-western regimes back which meant that the threat from the lost of South Vietnam to communism was lessened.

When the US combat units withdrew in 1973 they left behind a strong South Vietnamese Army and regime that could fight the combat role itself using aid provide by the US.

The North Vietnamese economy and military were utterly smashed and the Soviet Union and China admitted defeat.

The US lost 58,000 but millions of Vietnamese communist forces had been killed.

Then sensationally after the Watergate scandal, the Democrat dominated US Senate and Congress voted to cut all economic and military aid to South Vietnam.

The communists couldn't believe the turn of events and massively increased their aid to the North Vietnamese who eventually launched a full scale invasion in 1975.

By 1975 the South Vietnamese completely collapsed not before begging the Americans to intervene.

The leftists like Pilger claimed that the South Vietnamese people welcomed the communists but soon millions of Vietnamese had fled the country on a flotilla of boats and thousands died at sea while the rest crowded the port cities of neighbouring countries across the Asian region begging for refuge.

The ones who didn't escape were sent to 're-education' camps and countless thousands died.

Within a few years the economy of Vietnam had completely collapsed and there were famines thanks to the insane communist economic policies of the new regime.

The anti-war movement, peace protesters and leftist media who had wanted the US to withdraw refused to admit their role in this disaster.

They continually bring up atrocities like My Lai or complained about the bombing of Hanoi or the effects of chemical defoliants but they never talk about the genocide committed by communist forces when they were free of American harrasment after the fall of Saigon.

When Cambodia descended into a living hell under Pol Pot, the leftist media refused to take any interest and people like Pilger and Noam Chomsky praised the spread of communism through Indo-China.

Today these are the same people who thought Iraq would end in defeat - today Iraq is secure and standing on it's own two feet after US forces have withdrawn - and think America should withdraw from Afghanistan and are opposed to using force against Iran or North Korea.
Well put - nice concise history covering the salient points and exposing Pilger for what he is
 

padjo

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When Cambodia descended into a living hell under Pol Pot, the leftist media refused to take any interest and people like Pilger and Noam Chomsky praised the spread of communism through Indo-China.
.


You do realise that it was communist vitenam who deposed Pol Pot and after that the genocidal manic was heavily financed by the US?
 

Roy Feen

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I think Pilger is a legend!

Probably worth mentioning that it was the Vietnamese that stepped up against Pol Pot and the US backed Khmer Rouge, and probably worth checking out Pilgers documentary "Year Zero". But i'm assuming myhonor is just taking the mick and trying to be reactionary.

I live in Sydney now and nobody i have met here has ever heard of him...slightly disappointing,....Brian McFadden on the other hand....
 

Catalpa

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Its all down to will power

The Vietnamese Communists maintained their Will to Win throughout - no matter what the cost.

The US lost its will to win when the cost of staying in the field became too high.

Once they pulled out the South Vietnamese military and political Junta lost its will to carry on alone.

Leaving aside the morality of the whole thing there is no doubt that the USA had the military capability to defeat the VC/NVA had the political determination backed by solid public support been there to back it.

The Americans wanted to stop Global Communism and presumed erroneously that the regime in Hanoi was a puppet of China

It wasn't - it was a client of the Soviet Union to some degree & with a nationalist hard core that made for a deadly combination.
 

Capt Blah

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Whatever the ins-and-outs of the Vietnam war, the upshot is that the country was utterly destroyed by the efforts of malign foreign forces. This is also the case in Iraq. Under Saddam, Iraqis had education, health-care and equal rights for women. During his reign Iraq was a secular society, free from the radical Islamist lunacy which plagues much of the Arab world.

Now Iraq is shattered in every sense - the people have suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of the Americans, including thousands of people murdered (many of them children), rape on a vast scale, and a complete loss of infrastructure - including healthcare. Worse still, radical Islam is now well and truly embedded.

I doubt whether most Iraqis would call this "free".

To be clear - I shed not a single tear for Saddam. He was a monster and I protested against him for many years before it was a popular cause. But the truth is that the Ba'ath party came to power in Iraq with the help of the CIA. America supported Saddam for decades - including arming him and training his forces. There is something disgusting about America's righteous attitude to their actions in Iraq, an attitude which glosses over the fact that they created the regime which they sought to destroy.

As for Iran -- well, the Americans like to say that "they hate our freedoms" as though the Iranians really could give a toss about dumb American kids being able to whinge at will. Unlikely.

The yanks gloss over the fact that in 1953 the CIA backed a coup d'état which removed the popular leader Mossadeq from the office of Iranian Prime Minsiter. This was done at the request of MI6. He was replaced with a British-chosen stooge.

So, to be clear, America acted to remove a head of state and replace him with a dictator. So much for "freedom."

This, of course, is really why the Iranians hate America.

Why did America do this terrible thing? Oil, of course! Sound familiar?

Does anyone believe for a moment that the US would care a whit about Iraq if it didn't have oil?

The problem with America is that it has no rear-view mirror and seems able to maintain its self-image as the "good guy" irrespective of its sh1tty behaviour and immoral conduct. They even supported Pol Pot at one point.

This will continue until the other Western countries begin calling them out on their lies.
 

jcdf

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Everyone makes mistakes but most people at least eventually learn from theirs. Not Pilger though! I found his recent ass licking of Chavez particularly sicking.
 

jcdf

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Why did America do this terrible thing? Oil, of course! Sound familiar?

Does anyone believe for a moment that the US would care a whit about Iraq if it didn't have oil?

The problem with America is that it has no rear-view mirror and seems able to maintain its self-image as the "good guy" irrespective of its sh1tty behaviour and immoral conduct. They even supported Pol Pot at one point.

This will continue until the other Western countries begin calling them out on their lies.
This won't happen since the rest of the Western world depends on cheap oil. Most of the powerful parts of the non-western world are as equally dependent on cheap oil so they will not voice any fundamental challenges either. The dumb Muslims in that part of the world need to get that through their heads. Until they do there will be NO PEACE in the Middle East.
 

Interista

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Its all down to will power

The Vietnamese Communists maintained their Will to Win throughout - no matter what the cost.
Or to quote Uncle Ho:

You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.
The Vietnamese were fighting for their homeland, but the Americans were fighting for a 'cause' most of their soldiers didn't really believe in. You see the same thing over and over again with foreign forces up against a native insurgency (or call it what you will). The latter invariably suffer far more losses than the former, but they can sustain them. A consript army fighting for an unpopular cause in a faraway land is sooner or later - probably sooner - going to give up and go home. Just as the Yanks did.
 

Partizan

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The Vietnamese were fighting for their homeland, but the Americans were fighting for a 'cause' most of their soldiers didn't really believe in. You see the same thing over and over again with foreign forces up against a native insurgency (or call it what you will). The latter invariably suffer far more losses than the former, but they can sustain them. A consript army fighting for an unpopular cause in a faraway land is sooner or later - probably sooner - going to give up and go home. Just as the Yanks did.
+1

Indochina and her people had long been dominated by the regional and colonial powers - Chinese, French, Japanese, French again and finally the Americans. They should great willpower to overcome the odds and beat 3 world powers in the space of 3 decades to liberate their homeland. The Vietnamese possess a fantastic self belief and will power that brought inspiration to many oppressed peoples throughout the world, East Timor, the liberation movements in the Portuguese colonies (MPLA-Angola, PAIGC - Guinea Bisseau) Sandanistas, South Africa, Rhodesia, Palestine etc. and we would do well to learn from the struggle of Vietnam from imperialism in our fight against the native colonial gombeen class who have enslaved us to the EU and the international capitalists.

It is not surprising that John Pilger is being condemned and ridiculed by the right wingers here. he has reported on the plight of ordinary people and their struggle against adversity and murderous hypocrisy of the Western Imperialists for over 40 years, ranging covering Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement in the North, exposing the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, bringing to the world the attention of the democracy movement in Burma, East Timor, Yugoslavia, Palestine etc. His interviews with Andrei Sakharov and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia resulted in him being beaten up by the KGB and deported from the USSR and Czechoslovakia respectively. Pilger is highly thought of amoung the journalist fraternity and is rightly thought of as a legend. His expose of the Sun's attempt to demonise the miners during the Miners Strike in 1984-85 is legendary.

The man has done alot of good down through the years and long may his work continue.
 

Dillinger

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Pilger is a pathetic old relic.
America's interest in Vietnam was to halt the advance of the communists through post-colonial Asia. From the mid 1950's to the early 1960's American advisors trained and commanded and fought alongside the South Vietnamese Army against Communist rebels in the south.

The Russians and Chinese began training and providing hardware to the North Vietnamese communists and Chinese soldiers and North Vietnamese infiltrators took over the Viet Cong insurgents in the south.

Leftists in Europe and America like Pilger denied that the Viet Cong had anything to do with the communist North even though American special forces were routinely coming across dead Chinese and dead North Vietnamese Army officers among the bodies of dead Viet Cong guerrillas.

Later when it became clear the North Vietnamese regular army units were crossing into South Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh and US regular forces were built up to stop them and fight the Viet Cong guerillas, the likes of Pilger continued the claim that Viet Cong were simple poor peasant farmers fighting against imperialist aggression.

Pilger and his ilk denied that communists were massacring thousands of Vietnamese peasants and claimed that the communists in the South had popular support.

When the US military smashed the Viet Cong in the Tet offensive and broke the back of the communist movement the leftist media portrayed it as a defeat.

After 1967-1968 the South Vietnamese Army began to take on the combat role of the US military which began to be scaled back.

The North Vietnamese turned to it's regular forces to try and invade the south and were defeated again and again and again.

Meanwhile communist movements in the Phillipines, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia were defeated by pro-western regimes back which meant that the threat from the lost of South Vietnam to communism was lessened.

When the US combat units withdrew in 1973 they left behind a strong South Vietnamese Army and regime that could fight the combat role itself using aid provide by the US.

The North Vietnamese economy and military were utterly smashed and the Soviet Union and China admitted defeat.

The US lost 58,000 but millions of Vietnamese communist forces had been killed.

Then sensationally after the Watergate scandal, the Democrat dominated US Senate and Congress voted to cut all economic and military aid to South Vietnam.

The communists couldn't believe the turn of events and massively increased their aid to the North Vietnamese who eventually launched a full scale invasion in 1975.

By 1975 the South Vietnamese completely collapsed not before begging the Americans to intervene.

The leftists like Pilger claimed that the South Vietnamese people welcomed the communists but soon millions of Vietnamese had fled the country on a flotilla of boats and thousands died at sea while the rest crowded the port cities of neighbouring countries across the Asian region begging for refuge.

The ones who didn't escape were sent to 're-education' camps and countless thousands died.

Within a few years the economy of Vietnam had completely collapsed and there were famines thanks to the insane communist economic policies of the new regime.

The anti-war movement, peace protesters and leftist media who had wanted the US to withdraw refused to admit their role in this disaster.

They continually bring up atrocities like My Lai or complained about the bombing of Hanoi or the effects of chemical defoliants but they never talk about the genocide committed by communist forces when they were free of American harrasment after the fall of Saigon.

When Cambodia descended into a living hell under Pol Pot, the leftist media refused to take any interest and people like Pilger and Noam Chomsky praised the spread of communism through Indo-China.

Today these are the same people who thought Iraq would end in defeat - today Iraq is secure and standing on it's own two feet after US forces have withdrawn - and think America should withdraw from Afghanistan and are opposed to using force against Iran or North Korea.


"Isn't that what the Vietnamese used to say?"


Seriously though, I always find Pilger very interesting.
 

liamfoley

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The Vietnamese possess a fantastic self belief and will power that brought inspiration to many oppressed peoples throughout the world,

Having studied alongside and worked alongside many Vietnamese in Houston and the gulf coast I have to say you are 100% correct. I made many friends among the community and often wept when they told me stories of summary executions, imprisonments and beatings. I was often surprised when friends would tell me of the cruelties they experienced, cruelties that drove them to escape and live on boats for months at a time and then refugee camps. You see those that ignore or even justify communist brutalities need to hang their heads in shame. An ideology that dehumanizes people to the extent communism does is inherently corrupt.
 

Partizan

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Having studied alongside and worked alongside many Vietnamese in Houston and the gulf coast I have to say you are 100% correct. I made many friends among the community and often wept when they told me stories of summary executions, imprisonments and beatings. I was often surprised when friends would tell me of the cruelties they experienced, cruelties that drove them to escape and live on boats for months at a time and then refugee camps. You see those that ignore or even justify communist brutalities need to hang their heads in shame. An ideology that dehumanizes people to the extent communism does is inherently corrupt.
Many of the boat people who fled Vietnam after the liberation of Saigon have since returned to Vietnam. As for the imprisonments and executions, I do not shed a tear for the scum of the ROV government who met their deserved fate.
 

liamfoley

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Many of the boat people who fled Vietnam after the liberation of Saigon have since returned to Vietnam. As for the imprisonments and executions, I do not shed a tear for the scum of the ROV government who met their deserved fate.
There you go, you actually advocate torture and murder of political opponents. Especially when it is the forces of communism against democrats. Tell me though what is your source for the "many boat people" who have returned to Vietnam?
The difference between you and me. I am horrified at the atrocities committed against the Vietnamese because they are human and I am human. You are horrified on grounds of ideology alone, the people who shared your (erroneous) opinions are only of value because they think like you. When they no longer think like you then they are fair game. That is precisely what makes communists the scum of the earth. It is also one of the many reasons why it is doomed to failure.
 


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